Ergonomic Issues with iPad

gregwyattjr

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
198
1
I love the iPad and think it is the future of computing, but the only thing keeping it from being my personal future of computing is the awkward ergonomics when using the iPad for a long period of time.

If I'm sitting and have the iPad propped up on my lap (no matter which Smart Cover position I use) I have to bow my head down to look at the screen, which causes strain in my neck after a while and is extremely uncomfortable. If I try to hold it out in from of me while sitting, the strain transfers to my wrists and exhausts my arms.

If I'm at a desk using it like I would a computer, I can elevate it enough to save my head from any bowing. But then the issue of my wrists arises again. I have to lift my arm to tap the screen while browsing the internet, which is not ergonomically efficient when compared to a trackpad on a laptop computer. Like Steve Jobs said, touch-based surfaces want to be horizontal, not vertical. So using the iPad on a desk would be like using a laptop with a touch-enabled screen. It doesn't feel comfortable nor natural.

If I lay down on my stomach and place the iPad in front of my face, strain persists in my neck since I have to look up to see the screen. Ditto for laying on my back and placing the iPad on my chest, I have to bow my head to see it.

It seems to me that there is an ergonomic either/or decision that needs to be made by the user when using iPad:
Deal with wrist/arm strain or deal with neck/back strain. And I'd prefer not to deal with either.

That is why I still do most of my computer-related tasks on my laptop rather than my iPad. Merely because I can use my MacBook for long periods of time without sacraficing ergonomic comfort.

Have you guys had similar concerns with your iPad? If so, what do you do to keep the ergonomic strain at a minimum?
 

VFC

macrumors 6502a
Feb 6, 2012
514
10
SE PA.
I have the exact same issue. In fact my neck was hurting reading your post.

The only confortable way for me to use the iPad for an extended period is to place a large pillow on my lap and rest the iPad on it.
 

astrorider

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2008
512
38
Crossing my legs and putting the iPad on my thigh up near my knee seems to work well for me when sitting. It helps to have something on the back of the iPad like a Smart Cover or skin to keep it from slipping.
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68020
Oct 2, 2007
2,462
883
I hate having to move a bit when I am on the computer/ipad.

Kidding. Yeah sometimes I do get tired, then I move and find a new position.
but yeah Pillows are nice.
 

Sylon

macrumors 68020
Feb 26, 2012
2,032
80
Michigan/Ohio, USA
Yes, with the smart cover, you don't have many options. However, with a more adjustable case you would have similar options as if you were using a laptop on your lap.

However, like a laptop, the iPad has different required angles for typing than it does for viewing. On a laptop, the keyboard ic flat while the screen is angled. Same for the iPad, however both the "keyboard" and the screen are one in the same. So if you had a case with grooves in it for adjusting the iPad on the fly, it could make things easier for you. That way you can quickly switch from viewing to typing and back without too much hassle.
 

TheKricket

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2012
86
4
It's no less ergonomic than reading a hardback book.
It is, actually - considering most hardback books aren't so large - and their natural thickness inherently make them easier to grip with a human hand...

EDIT - MOST hardback books have a MUCH smaller footprint
 

Mak47

macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2011
751
32
Harrisburg, PA
The only thing that bugs me is the sharp edge if I don't have it in a case or some kind of skin. I don't find the iPad difficult to hold or position in any way, but after a while that edge really digs into your hand.

I'd honestly like to see a bumper, similar to the iPhone 4 come out for it. I don't always want the bulk of a full case, but something that gives a little space between it and flat surfaces, and covers the edges would be perfect.
 

VFC

macrumors 6502a
Feb 6, 2012
514
10
SE PA.
It's no less ergonomic than reading a hardback book.
The real issue is you have to touch the screen to use it. If I'm watching a movie I can set the iPad at eye level and relax. However, most everything else requires me to touch the screen; and that's where the neck, wrist, and back pain starts.

If I have a lot of information to read on a screen and need to interact wth the screen or input data, I'll use my pc rather than the iPad because the monitor is at eye level and the keyboard/mouse/trackpad is on the desk where I can rest my arm.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,073
5,173
That is why I still do most of my computer-related tasks on my laptop rather than my iPad. Merely because I can use my MacBook for long periods of time without sacraficing ergonomic comfort.

Have you guys had similar concerns with your iPad? If so, what do you do to keep the ergonomic strain at a minimum?
I agree with what you are saying about the iPad, but how do you use your MacBook? Because unless I'm using the MacBook at a desk, I find all sorts of ergonomic problems with it, too. In fact, even at a desk, the ergonomics of a laptop isn't perfect -- the monitor should ideally be at eye level, but if you raise the laptop that high, then the keyboard is too high to type comfortably. So in my opinion, both the iPad and laptop is problematic with regard to ergonomics, but that's the price we pay for the convenience of increased mobility.
 

VFC

macrumors 6502a
Feb 6, 2012
514
10
SE PA.
I agree with what you are saying about the iPad, but how do you use your MacBook? Because unless I'm using the MacBook at a desk, I find all sorts of ergonomic problems with it, too. In fact, even at a desk, the ergonomics of a laptop isn't perfect -- the monitor should ideally be at eye level, but if you raise the laptop that high, then the keyboard is too high to type comfortably. So in my opinion, both the iPad and laptop is problematic with regard to ergonomics, but that's the price we pay for the convenience of increased mobility.
That's why people have external monitors attached to laptops. I have had a Dell laptop from the company for five years and have not seen the screen in years. It stays closed on the docking station.
 

BFizzzle

macrumors 68020
May 31, 2010
2,443
0
Austin TX
i find hanging upside down from my feet like Bruce Wayne, is the most ergonomically friendliest way to use my new ipad...
 

chokem

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2012
279
0
Searcy, AR
I have the exact same issue. In fact my neck was hurting reading your post.

The only confortable way for me to use the iPad for an extended period is to place a large pillow on my lap and rest the iPad on it.
I'm glad I'm not the only one. Ive been using one of the end pillows off my couch, which miffs my wife pretty good.
 

dcomfe

macrumors newbie
May 23, 2012
1
0
Problem-Solution

The only thing that bugs me is the sharp edge if I don't have it in a case or some kind of skin. I don't find the iPad difficult to hold or position in any way, but after a while that edge really digs into your hand.

I'd honestly like to see a bumper, similar to the iPhone 4 come out for it. I don't always want the bulk of a full case, but something that gives a little space between it and flat surfaces, and covers the edges would be perfect.
That's EXACTLY what Comfe Hands had in mind with their design: www.comfehands.com. Something lightweight that isn't a case and slips on the sides. Super comfortable. No more edges digging into the hand.
 

madat42

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2011
197
20
an answer that says absolutely nothing. reading a hardcover isn't exactly a comfortable thing to do for many people. :rolleyes:
Exactly, and yet people have dealt with it much longer than the iPad's been around. :rolleyes: right back at ya
 

ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,482
905
I love the iPad and think it is the future of computing, but the only thing keeping it from being my personal future of computing is the awkward ergonomics when using the iPad for a long period of time.

If I'm sitting and have the iPad propped up on my lap (no matter which Smart Cover position I use) I have to bow my head down to look at the screen, which causes strain in my neck after a while and is extremely uncomfortable. If I try to hold it out in from of me while sitting, the strain transfers to my wrists and exhausts my arms.

If I'm at a desk using it like I would a computer, I can elevate it enough to save my head from any bowing. But then the issue of my wrists arises again. I have to lift my arm to tap the screen while browsing the internet, which is not ergonomically efficient when compared to a trackpad on a laptop computer. Like Steve Jobs said, touch-based surfaces want to be horizontal, not vertical. So using the iPad on a desk would be like using a laptop with a touch-enabled screen. It doesn't feel comfortable nor natural.

If I lay down on my stomach and place the iPad in front of my face, strain persists in my neck since I have to look up to see the screen. Ditto for laying on my back and placing the iPad on my chest, I have to bow my head to see it.

It seems to me that there is an ergonomic either/or decision that needs to be made by the user when using iPad:
Deal with wrist/arm strain or deal with neck/back strain. And I'd prefer not to deal with either.

That is why I still do most of my computer-related tasks on my laptop rather than my iPad. Merely because I can use my MacBook for long periods of time without sacraficing ergonomic comfort.

Have you guys had similar concerns with your iPad? If so, what do you do to keep the ergonomic strain at a minimum?
Its for these reasons I use the zerochroma case...I can usually get the ipad into a good position on a desktop with it.

Using in one's lap is a no win!

I have said many times on many threads >>>>>>>>>>>> IPADS ARE TOO DAMN HEAVY!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,073
5,173
Using in one's lap is a no win!

I have said many times on many threads >>>>>>>>>>>> IPADS ARE TOO DAMN HEAVY!!!!!!!!!!!
How are you holding the iPad?

I just do this.



Not heavy at all in this position. This, btw, is also how I hold a hard cover book.
 

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.